Saturday, June 2, 2007

Racing Against Myself

Ready or not! I arrived at Ellings park in Santa Barbara ready to fight like a maniac! As we lined up for the race on the cool foggy morning I quickly realized that I was the only one in my class! Wow, all I needed to do was finish the race and I could capture the gold medal! The over 35 clydesdales that always start with us had a their quickest 9 guys so I figured I would have my eyes on them. The guys that have been winning this class have been 6-15 minutes faster than me in the prior races so I knew that I had a battle in store.
It's been two weeks since my last race and I put in some serious training. The week after the Castaic race I put in about 160 miles, 15 hours, and 18,000 feet of climbing on my road and mountain bikes combined! The following week I decided to take a new approach and take it easy. I did a couple days of riding around the lake on both my mountain bike and road bike. I also decided to eat something before the race this time but had to opt for only a protein bar as I was out of oatmeal!
Back to the starting line! As we took off I actually jumped out front much to my surprise. It was important to get ahead quickly as most of this course was single-track and there was very little room to pass. By the time we hit the hill I was already passed by a large part of the group. Just near the top of the hill, one of my Westlake Cyclery's Fast Friday team members busted his chain right in front of me. I thought of offering him my Quick Link(piece to fix your chain) but decided stopping was not an option.
I was hanging with the front half of the group for the whole first lap. I took a couple of crazy lines trough the bushes in order to pass some slower riders and got very lucky that I did not flat! I was not feeling 100% on the first lap, but I was holding on pretty well! As we started up the hill on our second lap I started to lose sight of the leaders but new I was around 4th place. As we reached the crest of the mountain my chain would not go into the big ring. It started to jump and skip as I hammered through the winding trail on top. I hoped that it would work itself out as I flew down the mountain side. Once I hit the flats it started to skip even worse. Then as I looked down I watched in slow motion as my chain broke. This was the first real mechanical issue in a race that I've had! My chain has fallen off and skipped before but nothing serious like this! I jumped off and hoped that I had that quick link in my bag! Sweet I found it! Now I just needed to know how to put it on! As I struggled for a little over 10 minutes I watched rider after rider pass me by. Once I finally got it on, I jumped back on and took off. Unfortunately I was at the bottom of the big climb and had to go straight uphill!
There was no real relief on this course like Castaic. The descents were hairpin soft turns and the stretches of single-track were super bumpy. So you were climbing or holding on for dear life! As I started my 3rd and final lap I felt really good. The sun had come out and was putting out some serious heat. I noticed some friends not to far ahead and used them for inspiration to hammer away. I passed a few riders but most of the faster guys were to far to catch. I finished feeling well yet disapointed! It's one thing to break down, but to break down when your feeling good sucks!
Next weekend is my first 24 hour team event! I will be racing on a co-ed team of 4, for 24 hours! The race is in Monterey. The course is a 10.5 mile course that takes approximately 1 hour to complete. The way it breaks down is I will be doing a lap about every three hours for a total of about 6 hours. The only variable is possibly doing two laps in a row if someone is hurting. I am super excited for this race as it is very much like a large festival with crazy ccontests like weirdest helmet and best theme for your pit area! We do not expect to win this race as it is an "Open" race meaning we will be racing against other co-ed teams made up of semi-pro and expert riders. We will give it our best and will attempt to complete 23 laps in the 24 hours. Wish us luck and safety!

No comments: